I’ve been with the same company for over twelve years. Just over five years ago I started telecommuting when Ali and I moved to New York (state). The first 15 months I rented office space because there was no high speed Internet available where we lived. Other than not having personal interactions with people, things weren’t much different. Eventually we moved to a place where high speed Internet was available. My commute changed from driving 10 miles to my office to walking up a flight of stairs. That was about four years ago.
Back in June I went to Portland to visit a friend. One of Adam’s things is working from a cafe a couple of times a week. All of the cafes in Portland are setup with free wireless Internet, free power, tables, couches, and comfy chairs. Though we only did it once, I really enjoyed it.
When one works from home (and ones wife does the grocery shopping) one finds that they don’t ever have a reason to leave the house. Consequently, over the last four years I’ve been turning into a real recluse.
Visiting Adam has turned out to be a very good thing for me. He lived in downtown Portland, and everything was in walking distance. I really liked the experience and vibe. When I got back home I started changing my ways – I was looking for was to recreate my experience. The first thing that I did was to start walking to the deli to get lunch every other day.
When Ali and I went to Alabama recently, we hung out at Starbucks a couple of times and that brought the whole cafe experience back. Walton doesn’t have any cafes, but I’ve found that the local McDonalds fits the bill. It doesn’t have the amenities of a cafe, but it can be made to work. The largest short coming is there is no power available, which means I get about 2.5-3 hours before my laptop dies. Also, they don’t have free wifi, so instead of using it I just tether my cellphone to my laptop. I have been surprised at how well that works. The only issue is I can’t be on the Internet and take a call at the same time.
So for the last month, once or twice a week I go to McDonald’s; get a large tea (and sometimes a cookie); and sit at a booth and work. It has been great to get out of the house.
I just found out yesterday there is an art store on Main St. that has free wifi and the lady who runs it welcomes people to come hang out. I’m going to be giving her place a try the first chance I get.